I’ve seen the unfolding of my first two days of tiny living. I’m still not complaining.
I started this journey nearly four years ago. My quest, simply stated, was to go 365 days without uttering a word of complaint. I told only one person, my friend Iris, what I planned. The blog would keep me honest, I thought. Perhaps I’d slowly, gradually, let others know about my journey. Or I’d tell no one. I anticipated that my behavior would change; a living testimony to the success of my effort. People in my life — my spouse at the time; my son; my stepchildren; my father-in-law; my family and friends — would begin to comment on how sweet-natured I suddenly seemed to be.
Murphy’s Law intervened within two months. My marriage disintegrated. My stepchildren drifted away. My father-in-law died. The social life which I had enjoyed with my husband vanished. The reason for my efforts had been to enrich what surrounded me. Left to myself, I had to choose whether or not to continue.
So here I am. From December 2013 to December 2017, my life has dramatically, irrevocably, and astoundingly evolved. I sit at the same desk where I have written so many other passages, but the desk has been transported to a loft in the delta sixty miles east of Oakland, California. Instead of a thirteen-hundred square foot 100-year-old Brookside airplane bungalow, I find myself in a tiny house on wheels, which comprises 313 square feet counting the loft in which I sit and the sleeping loft across the way. The dishes on the shelves came from Kansas City, but they occupy six or seven feet of wood on metal brackets instead of ceiling-high cupboards. Out the window to my right, I see a larger tiny home. To the left, an honest-to-God trailer, with a metal door and a portable pop-up awning out front.
An old weeping willow rises from the stretch of parkland behind this place. A foot-bridge spans a creek running between the rows of RVs, campers, trailers, and tiny houses. I cannot see the river because we sit in a small verdant valley, but I can walk to it. I can stand on a dock and watch the sun rise over the Mokelumne River. The occasional rumble n the roadway will remind me that others have risen this early, for work or perhaps just to enjoy the gentle flow of the water and the call of birds in the low-hanging branches of the old trees.
So much remains to be done to order my life here. I must find work to replenish the funds which this move has depleted. For that matter, I still have to figure out how to use the fancy composting toilet which I chose so that eventually, in a few years, the house can go off-grid. The park handyman will build a porch for me with wood already delivered from the Home Depot in Lodi. Until then, temporary steps allow passage to and from the house. I’ve fixed my first dinner on the three-burner propane range. I’ve discovered all the little foibles which any new build presents. Each will be addressed; until solutions present themselves, I’ll tolerate the minor inconveniences. I’m taking this new life one day at a time, here in the home which I’ve named Angel’s Haven, in Park Delta Bay, in Isleton, California, just seventy miles from the calming presence of the mother sea.
It’s the twentieth day of the forty-eighth month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.